Things that make you go hmmm…


Back in the day, late night comedian Arsenio Hall had a segment in his comedy act (The Arsenio Hall Show), called “Things that make you go hmmm… “

Now, we’ve all had those moments when we’ve heard or seen things that simply defy logic. Afterwards, we’d walk away, shaking our heads in amazement or disbelief and muttering to ourselves:  “Did he really just say that? Am I missing something?” or “If I didn’t see that with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it!”

To start out the week with a chuckle, I thought I’d share some of my recent “Hmmm” experiences with you.

1.  Measure twice, cut once.  Translation:  “No worries, man, so what if we’re off by a few inches? Who’ll notice it?”

So, several homes in my neighborhood are in various stages of restoration.  Most are being rebuilt or refurbished by licensed contractors and overseen by certified architects.  Their work is being performed in strict accordance with the county’s building code standards.  Then there are the homeowners who, for reasons of budget or simply bureaucratic defiance, choose to hire unsupervised day laborers.  One particular home has been the source of many “hmmms” among the neighbors.  The homeowner, residing in another country, hired these men (sight unseen) to do a quickie, makeshift reno on a house that is a dilapidated eyesore (one step away from being condemned).  Every weekend, the men bring their tools and their generator (the county pulled the house’s power meters out when it was discovered that the day laborers had installed the meters improperly and without a permit) and they work steadily, hammering and sawing. To their credit, they do work hard and with very few breaks. However, when they installed new ingress and egress doors, they didn’t seem to worry about the two-inch high opening across the top of the doors.  Perhaps they thought the house needed some open air ventilation. 

Months later, the gaps remain. And flying palmetto bugs (South Florida’s version of cockroaches) happily fly into the house on a regular basis.  At least it’s no longer unoccupied.

2. Beautiful tropical flora be gone, I say, be gone!

One day, I decided to take a leisurely stroll through The Grove (Coconut Grove, that is).   I stopped suddenly when I saw a man waving a big machete, frantically hacking away all the lovely trees, vines and bushes surrounding a little cottage.  When he stopped to wipe his face with a cloth (it was a hot and humid mid-afternoon), I asked him why he was destroying all the beautiful foliage.  He said that the homeowner preferred a stark, easy-to-maintain yard. I suggested that if he really wanted to remove the foliage, he would need to pull them out by the roots or else they would grow right back.  He said that that’s what he was trying to do.  (Note: the only tool in sight was a machete).  I looked at him, just to make sure that he was copis mentis (of sound mind).   Then, I shook my head and walked away. When I saw the yard a day later, I was horrified to see a barren yard with roots and stumps sticking out from everywhere. 

By the summertime, the cherry bushes and jasmine vines had grown and blossomed.  The garden was restored (almost) to its rustic glory.  It’s like a tropical rainforest over here in South Florida.  Everything grows at warp speed.

Share some of your “Things that make you go hmmm .. “ stories.   I’d love to hear from you! 

Photo of Arsenio Hall via

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